Coutinho’s Transfer Request Changes Nothing – And Everything

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After three hours of absolute chaos, the dust settled on the news that Philipe Coutinho had officially handed in a transfer request, almost immediately after Liverpool released a statement saying that he would categorically not be leaving the club this summer. Whether the club released the statement and Phil reacted, or the club knew the request was coming and got out ahead of it, we may never know. In a confused tangle of leaks, various sources reported he had handed in a written request, the club firmly denied it, and then shortly after, accepted that he had.

So after all of that, the toing and froing the coming and going, where are we actually at? What has changed? What is the situation?

Well in some respects, and truthfully in every respect that matters, absolutely nothing has changed. We knew that Coutinho wanted to leave, we knew that he wouldn’t be featuring against Watford and would probably miss the Hoffenheim game. We knew that he wanted to leave and we knew Barca wanted him. Crucially, we knew that the club’s stance was that he wasn’t going to be sold.

This is how it remains. Liverpool are firmly standing by their stance that Coutinho isn’t for sale, Coutinho still wants to leave, still has a back injury (we assume) and Barca are still sniffing around but yet to make a concrete bid anywhere near what one would imagine Liverpool’s price range to be. If Coutinho’s request is an effort to make Liverpool listen to a lower bid, then one would hope that the Anfield hierarchy holds firm. The news that the request has been rejected seems to reinforce that opinion.

So in terms of the practicalities, the status of the saga remains roughly unchanged. And yet.

Transfers like this one are ugly. They can be really ugly. With reps floating around and absolutely everybody playing dirty PR games, nobody can come out smelling of roses. For Coutinho to drop a transfer request less than 24 hours before Liverpool’s season begins does not reflect him in a good light. The club reporting they have no intention of selling a player hours before he submits a request does not look good. Barcelona’s shark-like attitude, hovering and acting as if Liverpool are being unreasonable, when in truth they themselves haven’t come close to matching Liverpool’s valuation, is beyond irritating.

We’re beyond the looking glass now. The player and his agent have talked all summer about an amicable resolution, which is now increasingly looking impossible. Whether Liverpool have been unreasonable is up for debate, whether Coutinho has been unreasonable is up for debate, but what is no longer up for debate is that the happy families, Phil is happy to stay image has been shattered, and the cutthroat nature of top level football has revealed itself.

It could well be that Coutinho is happy in Liverpool and with the club, but some combination of Liverpool’s refusal to deal, Barcelona’s insistence that they won’t come back for Phil next summer, and his agents and family’s desperation to push through the deal means that the player himself has made his position clear. He wants out and is willing to do what he has to in order to make that happen.

Does this affect whether Liverpool should sell him? In my opinion no. We should still do everything in our power to keep hold of Coutinho, whilst quietly working on other deals to replace him should Barcelona offer an unreasonable sum of money. The simple fact is that selling Coutinho in and of itself isn’t destructive to Liverpool’s season if we replace him, but if we don’t then we are in real trouble. As for the notion of keeping an unhappy player? Clubs have done it before and will do it again. We kept Suarez in the summer of 2013 after he was adamant he wanted to leave and look what happened then.

But if nothing else has changed, then certainly Liverpool fans will be looking differently at Coutinho from now on. I doubt that there will be too much in the way of resentment, and certainly, Coutinho is entitled to push for a move that would no doubt further his career. But the timing of the move is frustrating, and if Coutinho is faking injury (and the club still insist he isn’t), then that too is poor form. That said, there’s no doubt that the next time a player claims that they love the club and have no intention of leaving, we might not take it quite so seriously. And the next time that we see Phil score a goal for LFC, if indeed he stays, a little bit of joy will have been taken out of it for some.

The magic surrounding the little magician has been slightly dented, the bubble slightly burst. And even if we keep him, and he goes on to score 15/20 goals, and even if we don’t resent him for what he did today, there’s no denying that it’s sad to see.

Absolutely nothing has changed. And yet everything has.

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  1. Well said. Barca only want Phil cos Neymar’s gone. Would they have stopped Neymar going if they could? You betcha! Total dissing of our club by the agent, Barca, Phils family and now Phil himself. Phil should go when it suits him and LFC, not him and Barca!

  2. I agree and disagree. Now that we have a transfer request and understand FCB may not come back for him next summer, due to the desperate need to replace Neymar immediately, this situation may well be different from the Suarez transfer. We believe Suarez knew if he gave LFC another season they would let him go and FCB would be waiting, we can not assume this situation is the same, so for Phil it might mean he goes now or not at all…

    As most LFC fans, me included, think Southampton should let Virgil move on a transfer request, what is so different from this situation? If Phil wants to leave then we should let him go but only if we set a realistic fee and tell Phil, his team and FCB that he can go but only if the fee is reached!

    Based on transfer fee’s this summer and Neymar going for £200m I believe a fee around £130m – £140m is fair, especially as he will be Neymar’s replacement, that in itself adds value.
    For those that don’t want to let go, think of the Suarez final year, yes we did well but we didn’t win anything and we didn’t build on that situation after he left, many would say we dropped a little and its taken till now and Klopp to regain real hope about the future, lets not repeat the Suarez thing, it just left us all exhausted.

    I don’t want the risk of an unhappy player not performing to his best, especially as we would be looking to him to raise our game, lets set the price and let FCB know they have a week or the shop is shut! And move on now instead of waiting another year, this strategy did not work with Suarez, yes it was an exciting year but no advancement… just frustration!

  3. Right, if Keita is tied down and the club are unwilling to sell; we had to take that.
    Van Dijk is not happy and has handed in a transfer request, Southampton having none of it.
    If we sell now we will look the softest, stupidest club in Europe.
    The targets we’ve chased this summer wanted a move to Anfield yet their clubs refused it. We must adopt this stance.
    This isn’t about keeping Phil, building the team around him (personally I say let him go but we cant), it’s about principles. If other, lesser clubs can refuse then damn right we should. For the sake of our pride he needs to stay.

  4. WE should make him stay at least this season unless Barcelona are prepared to hand over the Neymar fee, pay the agents fees, & Coutinho’s percentage & “loyalty” bonus.

    At least we’ll have the season to plan for a replacement, knowing we’ll have a decent kitty.

    Barcelona will come back if we don’t sell this year, hopefully we’ll have progressed & Barca will finish outside CL qualifying

  5. If clubs like Leipzig could maintain their stands on not selling any of their players and we all accepted, then stops us from doing the same even if it means Coutinho been dropped from the first team. No player is bigger than the club and our pride is at stake here.

  6. Last words I don’t care how good he is next season i’d love to see him replaced with a player that wants to be a leader who knows maybe he’s already at the club. No player bigger than the club. Liverpool have twice been told no with key targets its now our turn to say NO and also say pay us you crooked cock suckers !!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I think we should keep Coutinho at all cost, just to send a message to our fans that FSG is serious about winning something and also to tell those Spanish b*****ds that LFC is not their feeder club, we are a very big club in our own rights.
    Having said that, for LFC to find themselves in this situation, they also must take a very big chunk of the blame themselves. As usual, LFC is a master when it comes to transfer cock up, often moving in too late or haggling over that few million. This season is the same, please refer to VvD. Many had said Salah signing is great, which is but we could had had him a few seasons ago at 11 or 12 mill, if our club was more decisive then. This season even Everton had a much better and productive transfer than us, forget about our top 4 rivals like United, City, etc.
    So if you are a top player like Coutinho, you would start saying to yourself ” WTF, i am not going to win anything with these bunch of idiots in charge “. Many had over praised the ability or Klopp, well i would reserved my judgement until he actually win something. Remember he had gone to two cup finals and lost them all and until now we are still having a shitty transfer.
    If LFC does not buck up, Coutinho would be the first of many to want to leave.

  8. Oh, one more thing, we would NEVER win anything of significance under FSG, as their whole business model when it comes to LFC is based on UEFA’s FFP. We all know the FFP is bullshit, just look at the Neymar transfer and how United and City can spend all those millions.
    This means FSG would continue to pinch pennies and would be worse than Arsenal ( even they are spending top dollars these days) So except for the occasional top 4 or Cup, if we are very lucky, i don’t see the Prem or CL trophy coming our way.
    With Klopp heavy metal football and our thin squad so short of quality especially on defenders ( barring Matip), as usual we would start with a bang and fissle out by around Christmas, maybe even before that.
    Come to think of it, the FSG out brigade does have a point

  9. Thing is that we cannot keep him if he really wants to go. What really worries me on the other hand is our recruiting policy and capability in doing this. I am dead sure that in the case that Phil is finally gone, we will act in the most disastrous way for the team. Either we are not going to replace him at all or we will bring in a couple of so called promising players who will by no means cover the gap left over by Phil’s departure from the team. We would by no means engage into buying a big name of 100+ millions as we should, to at least cover on paper the characteristics of Phil. This is what teams that really want to compete for top four do (Barcelona). Arsenal, Chelsea, Mutd, Mcity, all have invested heavily this season. We bought Sallah, a good player in the 30 to 40 mil price range, while pursuits for bigger names have crashed due to various reasons supposedly! We are one of the biggest tams in the world but we function as far as recruiting investment as a team that has no vision, a team that is satisfied with a 6th to 8th position by the end of the league. So whether Phil leaves or not, the fact that we have not invested in top tier players yet, leaves in my opinion the team in a very weak shape, provided that we are all deadly sure that we really need to fight for the top 4 positions and have a respected presence in the CL.

  10. Just put another creative player to replace the Brazilian (Philippe Coutinho i mean). Someone like Hakim Ziyech would do perfectly. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder plays for Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie and is the team’s creative fulcrum. Ziyech has made 11 goals and 20 assists in all competitions for the Dutch side last season and is capable of playing centrally or on either wing. He’s also a dead ball specialist.
    Possibly, he may be too raw to start for Liverpool just yet, but the talent is definitely there should Klopp move for him.
    Ziyech is quick, skillful and has fantastic delivery. He is slight in figure but makes up for that with his ball control and dribbling. He may struggle to come to terms with the physicality of the Premier League straight away, but with time and the right coaching, Ziyech could be moulded into one of the finest attacking midfielder in Europe.


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